Sunday, October 7, 2012

HUMMUS - HUMUS


Hummus is a Levantine originated dish of Chick-Peas (or called Garbanzo Bean) and Tahini. Levant area covering Syria, South East part of Turkey (especially Antakya), Iraq, Israel, Palestinian, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt (only difference they make tahini with un-hulled seeds).

Hummus is a healthy appetizer. It is full of protein and fiber. It can be used as a dip or a sandwich/wrap spread. It is made from cooked, mashed chick-peas, Tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, spices and garlic.

Hummus is very versatile dish. You can add olives, roasted red peppers, roasted garlic, sun dried tomatoes, pine nuts, walnut, pistachio, pastirma, sucuk, (Turkish pastrami and sausage) cilantro, mint, parsley, jalapeno peppers and so on. You need to use your imaginations.

Tahini (Turkish Tahin) is a paste made from ground, sesame seeds (hull or husk part removed) Tahini made from raw or toasted sesame seeds. It is high in calcium and protein Addition to vegetarian diets, as well as to raw food diets might useful Compared to peanut butter, Tahini has higher levels of fiber and calcium and lower levels of sugar and saturated fats. Also Tahini is a good source of copper, manganese, methionine, omega-3 and omega-6. Tahini is a healthy ingredient. In Turkish cooking and baking it is a common ingredient. I will give more Tahini recipes in the future. Tahini is used in North African, Greek, Middle Eastern, and Asian cooking. It can be purchased at health food stores, and specialty markets.

This recipe makes about 4 cups
Total Time: 10 Minutes
Very easy recipe
No cooking involved 

Ingredients:

2 cans (15 oz or 425 gr) of Garbanzo Beans or Chick Peas washed and drained
Total about 3 cups cooked Chick peas. (Optional you can save 2 tbsp for garnishing
1/2 to 3/4 cup Tahini (adjust to your taste)
½ cup plain yogurt
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
4-5 cloves of garlic, mashed (about 2 tsp)
1 tsp ground cumin
Juice of 2 lemons (about 1/2 cup, adjust according to your taste)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp dry mint (optional)
2-3 tbsp water (if it is too thick)

For this recipe I add yogurt to give tanginess and also soften the taste of tahini.


Directions:

1. Put the chickpeas, Tahini, olive oil, yogurt and lemon juice in a blender or a food processor and blend to a silky and smooth paste. Scrap the sides of the blender couple times during this process.

2. Add garlic, cumin, paprika, mint, salt and pepper and blend again. Scrape the sides of the blender. If humus is too thick add couple of tbsp water. Blend until a very smooth paste is formed. Refrigerate until ready to serve. (Lemon juice is a natural preservative so humus will last about a week in the refrigerator. Some people use citric acid instead of lemon juice when lemon is not available. That is fine too. You can freeze hummus and keep a couple of months in the freezer).

3. Transfer the hummus in a nice serving plate, spread and garnish with paprika, parsley or mint and 1 tsp olive oil. You can garnish with the reserved beans.

4. You can serve with warm pita bread, fresh French bread, crackers, pita chips (Cut the pita bread into small triangles. Brush with olive oil and bake for 10 minutes at 375°F preheated oven) or raw vegetables (cucumber, carrot, radish, celery, pepper, tomato, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini).

NOTE: If you want to use dried Chick Peas-Garbanzo Beans then you need to soak the beans in a large pot of water overnight. Next day wash the Chick Peas and add enough water to cover the Chick Peas, cook on medium low heat about one hour. Add hot water if necessary. The Chick Peas need be very soft and tender.

Paprika and parsley garnished Hummus (top), Turkish Pul Biber and dill garnished Hummus (bottom)


KISIR-TURKISH TABULI

Kısır/Tabuli is an excellent light salad, appetizer or side dish. It is low in calories, high in fiber and rich with fresh vegetables and herbs. It is a perfect dish for spring and summer when fresh vegetables and herbs are abundant.


Kısır is absolutely a refreshing and very flexible dish. There are many variations. You can add or take some ingredients. Generally, summer time we add more vegetables such as: tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, lettuce so on. Winter time we prepare it with pepper and tomato paste. Currently you can find all vegetables all year around.

Fine Bulgur (top left), Coarse Bulgur (top right), Kisir with greens, tomato,cucumber,dill and parsley
Bulgur is produced in four distinct grinds or sizes (#1 Fine, #2 Medium, #3 Coarse and #4 Extra Coarse grinds). Whole-grain high-fiber bulgur can be found in natural food stores, Lebanese, Middle Eastern, Turkish, Mediterranean markets, and health food stores or online. For kısır we use fine or medium bulgur. I prefer fine bulgur.

Serves for 8
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Easy recipe (no cooking involved)

Ingredients:

2 cups fine bulgur (I prefer Duru Brand köftelik bulgur)
1 small onion chopped, about ¾ cup
1 bunch green onion (6-8), chopped
1 cup chopped parsley
2 tbsp chopped dill
1/4 cup mild pepper paste (there is a hot version if you like spicy)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint or 1 tsp dry mint
1 tomato, finely chopped (optional)
1 cucumber, finally chopped (optional)
1 Green Bell pepper or colored pepper, finely chopped (optional)
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt (or adjust for your taste)
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dry basil
½ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
¼ cup olive oil
4-6 tbsp lemon juice (your taste)
1/4 pomegranate concentrate*

*There is pomegranate molasses. If you use pomegranate molasses then do not use it too much because molasses is sour and sweet. It will make Kısır too sweet. I use Sera brand Pomegranate concentrate or dressing. If you cannot find in your area just use more lemon juice.

Directions:

1. Add one cup of cold water and two cups of fine bulgur in a bowl and mix. Let it sit about 15 minutes or until you chop all the vegetables and herbs. If you use medium grain you can use hot water. (Do not add to much water otherwise your salad is going to be mushy).

2. Finely chop the parsley, dill, onions, cucumber, pepper, and tomato and place them into a separate bowl.

3. Juice the fresh lemon and pour it over the bulgur. Add olive oil, pepper paste and tomato paste, black pepper, salt and other spices in. Mix well.

4. Place the chopped veggies and herbs over the bulgur and mix well.

5. Garnish Kısır with romaine lettuce, tomato, cucumber and parsley and serve

6. Refrigerate any left over. You can make a big batch of kısır recipe and eat it for several days.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

BULGHUR PILAF WITH VEGATABLES-SEBZELİ BULGUR PİLAVI


Bulgur is a whole grain. Bulgur is confused with cracked wheat, which is crushed wheat grain that has not been parboiled. Production of bulgur starts by soaking and cooking the whole-wheat kernels. After that the drying process takes place. Then the wheat kernels are cracked into small pieces. In the United States bulgur is produced in four distinct grinds or sizes (#1 Fine, #2 Medium, #3 Coarse and #4 Extra Coarse grinds). Whole-grain high-fiber bulgur can be found in natural food stores, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and Turkish markets. Number 3 and 4 can be used for pilaf. In LasVegas, I get mine from Mediterranean Market (Jones/Spring Mountain).



Ingredients:

2 cups coarse bulgur (#3 or #4 work well for pilav)
4 cups boiling hot water
2 diced onions, about 2 cups
1 can petite diced tomato (14 oz) or 2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp pepper paste
2 tbsp olive oil
2 bell pepper (use one green one colored). If you like spicy add one jalapeno pepper, seeded chopped
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp paprika
salt and pepper to taste
3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
 
Directions:

  • In a non stick pot sweet the onion with 2 tbsp olive oil in medium low heat and cook about 5 minutes.

  • Stir in the bell pepper and cook about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook 2 more minutes. 

  • Pour in the bulgur and then mix very well.

  • Add hot water, bring the mixture to a boil and put the lid on the pot.  Lower the heat, cook for 20-25 minutes or until the bulgur has absorbed all the liquid (stir a couple of times during this period). Important note: Bulgur is like rice. There are different brands with different cooking time. Normally bulgur cooks in 15 to 25 minutes.

  • Stir in the butter and chopped parsley. Put a paper towel between the lid and the pot. Put the lid on half covered.

  • Let the pilav stand for about 5 minutes; then stir, garnish with parsley and serve. With salad or Cacik (seasoned, diluted yogurt with chopped cucumber and mint) it is a good lunch dish. Also make very balanced meal as a side dish with meat dishes.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

MY MOTHER’S MEATBALLS-ANNEMİN KÖFTESİ


For most people mother’s food is very special and almost everybody loves mother’s food. Everyone who tastes my mother’s food loved it. This recipe is one of her specialties. Try it and see the difference with your meatball recipe. Even you love your own recipe, why not try something different. What.  make this recipe special? Maybe baking powder and lemon juice make meatball or combination of spices. I had to modify the recipe a little. Difference is; she was making her own bread crumbs from day old Turkish bread. Since I could not find Turkish bread in USA, I tried different options and I found that Panko Japanese bread crumbs works very well. It has soft flakes and makes meatballs soft and fluffy.

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (used Costco organic 85% lean ground beef)
  • 1 cup of Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 medium onion, grated or finely chopped
  • ½ cup of finely chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 tsp of cumin
  • 1/2 tsp of dried oregano   
  • 1 tsp of Hungarian or Spanish paprika (these are sweet paprika)
  • 1/2 tsp of dry mint
  • 1 tsp of double acting baking powder
  • 1 tsp of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Directions:

  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine and mix bread crumbs, egg, onion, parsley, cumin, oregano, mint, paprika, baking powder, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  • Add ground beef, mix well. Take a walnut size of the mixture, place it in your palm, dip your fingers to olive oil and make little meatballs (walnut size) then press on the top like little hamburgers. Do the same for the rest.
  •  Use a nonstick pan and cook both sides on medium-low heat without any oil or butter. Serve with rice, pasta or bulgur pilaf.
    KÖFTE and Turkish Rice
  •  It goes well with white bean salad-Piyaz (recipe coming soon, picture is below).
Bean Salad-PIYAZ




KÖFTE over Pasta with Tomato Sauce
           

Serve for 8 people.
  • Note: You can bake at 375 F for 20-25 minutes or 385 F for 15 minutes.